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SPALDING COUNTY, GA (CBS46) -
Lilly Goodson, 5, is in critical condition with severe bites to her face and body after being mauled by one of her family's dogs on Wednesday.
Her grandmother, Kathy Goodson, tried to stop the attack. Neighbors also tried to help, but it was Griffin Police Cpl. Stan Phillips that finally ended the attack.
"It was heart-wrenching to see. I never want to see it again," Phillips said.
Phillips is still shaken up by the events. When he arrived at the home on Ruth Street in Griffin, he witnessed a 120 pound pit bull attacking Lilly, and Goodson was trying desperately trying to stop it.
"She was trying to pry the dogs mouth open. She actually lost some teeth biting the dog, trying to get the dog off," Phillips said.
Phillips knew he had to act to save Lilly's life, so he drew his weapon.
"The dog still had Lilly's head in his mouth and I had to try to position myself, because it's a high risk situation, and be able to shoot the dog with being concerned for the child and grandmother's safety," Phillips said.
The 10-year police veteran's training kicked in.
"I fired the first round and the dog stopped and let go and looked at me and went to re-engage again, and I fired a second shot, and at that point he let go and went running around a tree where I pursued the dog and fired several more rounds until it dropped," Phillips said.
Phillips said Lilly was conscious and alert. A neighbor shot a cell phone video of her being taken by helicopter to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston.
"She's strong. I'm telling you, the little girl's a fighter. She is truly a fighter and she is going to come through this," Phillips said.
Phillips visited Goodson at the hospital. He calls her a hero.
"The things that she went through, she's the real hero to me. She put her life on the line for that child," Phillips said.
Three other kids under the age of 3 also live at the home. Police said the Goodsons have had the pit bull that attacked Lilly for eight years. His remains are being tested for rabies.
Two other dogs who were at the home are at Spalding County Animal Control.
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